Introducing Jerry

He crouches in the centre
Of a sparsely furnished room
Long-cracked leather, missing buttons
Stained with sun and life and food
With fine scratches on his shoulders
To reflect the life he’s led
When he dressed for television
Or he stood in for a bed
Marked by forty years of sitting
In the heart of family
Soaked with tears and piled with knitting
Crumbed with toast and splashed with tea
He attends upon our leisure
Calls to strangers to feel free
Take their ease upon the contours
Of our veteran settee

An unexpected question

You asked me what I wanted
Why I was being so nice
Forgive me, after thirteen years
I thought you knew the price

To tell the truth, I hate it
Helping’s not my thing
It’s just that I’ve an open face
That calls to all to cling

They trespass on my kindness
Assume it’s all for free
All fail to understand the things
That they must do for me

I deal with strangers swiftly
They never learn the score
It’s only friends that settle, thus
In place of greed for more

My balance tips to favour
Those worthy of my act
Demanding further efforts fill
Potential – tit for tat

Gaffe a-go-go

The fan who got my name wrong
While calling me a child
Intended paying compliments
But missed her mark (shot wide)
I smiled and kept my countenance
At unintended slight
And knew I’d pen some petty stance
At her expense tonight

A Stately Occasion

A corpse now lies attended by
Mendacity that birthed the lie
As all do scramble, keen to tie
Their face to footage scraping sky

The fly-by-knights who, Honour-bound
Have bought their seats now stand around
Delighted soon that underground
An aged foe will not be found

No shrine awaits such servant’s State
A figure all adored to hate
We’ll do without a passing plate
For mugs enough have cheered her fate

I’m off tomorrow, home to stay
Avoiding such a special day
Occasion marking in my way
No crowds nor crowns to wave away

On sofa, just the cat and me
A radio for company
I’ll not be seen, nor none shall see
To mourn my past, her legacy

The Bathtub Pirates

I grew up in the summertime
Surrounded by the spoils of war
We hunted acorns, played at crime
And watched the adults rig our score

Competing in a healthy sense
With shared experience and chores
All piled up rocks to mend the fence
Took turns to go from ours to yours

I learned to work an Epi-pen
So Emily could come to tea
With lesser risk she’d choke upon
What passed for pranks in company

While grownups talked of higher things
Of Arts and Culture, grapes and wrath
We built a fortress, swung on swings
And sank our pirate ship – the bath

As water rose to muddy knees
The hearty pirates gave a shout
And splashing round in pants and tees
We bailed the bathroom inside out

Though life was hardly always fun
We made a joke of Physicist
Whose atom-splitting famous chum
Miscalculated bigger things

And challenged to a duel of sorts
To prove we were such clever dicks
Two minds con CERN did turn their thoughts
To problem setting cryptic tricks

The mighty sometimes need to fall
To make room for a counterpart
We kids did outperform them all
As was intended from the start

My sister won the treasure trail
The baby always did, you see
And chose a favour from the haul
To be the queen ’til half-past three

To coax ill humour to good mood
Avoid a third and bloody fight
So none would win and none could lose
A prize was found for all that night

And settled in the shade to gloat
We gulped Anne’s Grenadine and spat
Then Alex saw a spotted coat
So off we ran to find the cat

We came upon a curious scene
For kitty’d found a frog to pat
Thus rescued for our pirate queen
We bore our mascot back and sat

Beside the pond to see if he
Was well enough to take a swim
Joanna, dared by Emily
To kiss him, squealed as frog plopped in

Escaping all experiment
We gave the frog-prince lost at last
And comforted by this event
To fairytales and bed did pass

Farewell Iron Lady

A woman we were taught as children
Was to change the world today
Has palmed us off with chains of power
Dropped her Balls and gone away

A nation stares in disbelief
The Beeb reacts with scant few lines
That multiply to meet demand
Auto-refresh on overtime

There will be drink that flows tonight
As some rejoice and some despair
The grocer’s daughter’s oversight
That closed the mines and sold the poor

Such lines as Iron Lady stood
For character, caricature
Entitled by the great and good
To whip things up and milk for more

A battleship in pussy bow
She stood her ground from thick to thin
Prime target for the satirists
Whose spitting image kept her in

What mindful public audience
That gather now for funeral cheer
Some come to cry, to jump, to dance
The Lady’s burning time draws near

Cherry Conserves

Ding, dong, the bells rang out
And sirens wailed as cars sped by
With MPs anxious all to spout
Proud eulogies to she whose dying
Broke the mould that shaped this land
A Britain blitzed and bristling
Tenacious hold of ringed hand
Conducting as her choirs sing
But praises in her final hour
When all about her’d scoffed in doubt
A woman might ascend to power
To rule their classes, well-endowed
Through echelons of history
Such ilk, ill-favoured (and less-liked)
Set braver face than enemy
And damned the rest to build a dyke
For old and loyal as they’d seem
Support has grown in recent years
The bad old days are here again
No sum may yet assuage our fears
What party rages through the night
As shades and lines are thinly drawn
All hail the dying of the light!
Now bow before the bitter dawn

Fishing for Mister Chips

Some always slip through the net, it’s true
We try to dissuade them, with warning glances
Terrible teachings and shoulder chips too
Yet they look for their plaice in the world, take chances

And fall for the hook, a line not intended
To catch such minnows, keen though they wriggle
But tempt floury flounder, a proper five pounder
With pedigree fin-flop and scales well-landed

A gentleman filleted almost from spawning
Too easy, compliant and well-bred for yawning
When skinny fish sizzle, the dull never grizzle
For schooled in his duty, the fat fish stays snooty

And floats on the current, just goes with the flow
Content not to question the things he should know
The minnow is left to the rock-pool and stream
Abandoned, unwanted, to struggle and dream

The Dragoness

Tongue tied in the face of such total denial
Unsure what to say as she squirms to fit in
Contorting the truth ’til it matches desire
She wriggles and struggles to conquer our whim

The pile ever growing, her hoard has been threatened
Not ev’ry dear item surviving the cull
Our backs strained and suffered, this one is the seventh
We’ve moved her rag fact’ry from Burnley to Hull

We stand here, an army of moral supporters
Poke holes in each argument, watering wails
That presage the tantrum still bubbling under
With glimpses of brimstone and manicured nails

I’ve gathered my forces, reluctant acceptance
Complying with wishes, she feigns every mood
And snatches at fav’rites we’d bagged, boxed and bundled
But left unattended while loading the boot